Submission to Ontario Government Calls for Wage Increases in Healthcare
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Submission to Ontario Government Calls for Wage Increases in Healthcare

CLAC responds to the "Supporting Retention in Public Service Act, 2022"

Yesterday, CLAC called on the province of Ontario for better, long term, and thoughtful solutions for all of Ontario’s healthcare workers. 

CLAC submitted five recommendations in response to Bill 106 and the within Supporting Retention in Public Services Act, which offers a wage enhancement for public sector PSWs. 

It is impossible to convey what frontline healthcare workers have endured during these last two years. Whether in home care, long-term care facilities, hospitals, private sector retirement homes, or community care, these workers were thrust into life-threatening and life-altering work experiences. Serious cracks in our healthcare system were evident pre-pandemic, and they led to a near total breakdown of many parts of the system during the pandemic. As many advocates had long warned, the investments of public dollars into the healthcare system were wholly inadequate.   

As this crisis abates, the lessons and the deprivations experienced by workers and the people in their care must not be forgotten.

With Bill 106, the province promises a permanent wage adjustment for PSWs and DSWs in the broader public sector. These are significant and necessary wage adjustments. In long-term care alone, the province will require 50,000 new PSWs and RPNs to meet staffing needs. CLAC welcomes this historic investment into wages.

But, while the wage increase provided to PSWs is a step forward, we are concerned with wage issues in the healthcare sector at large. The degradation and suppression of wages, which has in large part fuelled the current and pre-pandemic staffing crisis, has been over 15 years in the making. Bill 124 is just the latest example in a long line of wage suppression measures. Furthermore, retirement home workers have been overlooked in pandemic pay adjustments made since August 2020. Those workers experienced the same nightmarish working conditions during the pandemic, with little acknowledgment for the challenges they endured.

In light of these facts, CLAC’s key recommendations are as follows:

  1. Ensure these wage adjustments are permanent, not temporary.
  2. Ensure that wage enhancement forms part of base wage rates so it impacts total compensation.
  3. Commit to future funding that will guarantee that wages can keep up with the increasing cost of living.
  4. Expand the wage enhancement to all front-line healthcare workers in the broader public sector, not just PSWs.
  5. Issue a one-time, lump sum pandemic pay adjustment to workers in the retirement home sector as consideration for pandemic working conditions between August 2020 to present.

Read the full report and recommendations below.

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